Saturday, June 24, 2006

Seth Crosson, are you out there? Your mother would like to speak with you.

Ever since I hooked up my phone line, I've been getting calls for someone named "Seth Crosson". The first call was fielded by my answering machine, and I figured it was a wrong number. The first two calls were from schools, and I figured maybe they just had an old number. But a few weeks later, I started getting calls from this guy's friends and family, wondering where he had gotten to.

Seth, whoever you are, if you by any chance happen to read this, please call your mother and let her know where you are. Also, please tell your family what your new number is so they stop calling me and asking for you. If you give me your new phone number (preferably by calling your old Redmond number), I'll be happy to redirect people to it.

And, next time that you move, please tell people that you are moving and where you're moving to, so they don't have to call the poor guy who gets assigned your old number.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Unsubscribing from most Debian lists.

After six (seven?) years of being almost continuously subscribed, I have decided to finally remove myself from most Debian mailing lists. While I don't intend to actually unsubscribe, I even doubt I will continue reading -private. No, strike that. I especially doubt I will continue reading debian-private.

This is not a decision that I wanted to make or took lightly, but two ongoing problems, combined with my own lack of free time, have convinced me that it is the best route:

(a) Virtually all the traffic on the lists is useless. I don't think this was the case when I subscribed, but it certainly is now. The few interesting technical or procedural tidbits that I can find are buried under (and within) piles of messages that are useless flames, off-topic discussions, kooky threads, or mails that combine two or more of the above.

(b) The tone and content of the lists is increasingly hostile, personal, and aggressive. Based on what I see on the lists, Debian is not a friendly project these days. I'm sad to say it, but being able to block the rest of the Project (except bug reports, of course :) ) out will not only increase the time I have for Debian, it will increase my motivation to work on it. A lot.

The straw that broke the camel's back here was that after finally getting my Internet access back a couple weeks ago, I decided to catch up on Debian list mail this weekend. After spending a significant fraction of my free time just wading through the sludge and reading the most useful and interesting-looking of the mail that people had spewed onto the lists, I realized that I would have been far better off doing something more useful, enjoyable, and productive with my time ... like, say, picking lint out of my carpet by hand, or committing Postal Service regulations to memory.

I'm still of two minds about the whole issue: while I blamed the lists above, there are plenty of major contributors to Debian who have full-time jobs and still manage to not just read all the garbage on the lists, but actually reply to a lot of it. So I can't help feeling this is partly due to my own inadequacy or advancing decrepitude (I turn 26 in just a few months; isn't that about when your brain atrophies? ;-) ) -- but regardless, I think that I personally can't justify the "expense" of staying on the lists in terms of the benefits I get from doing so.